Author Archives: Environment | Discover Magazine

Turning Cow Poop Into Energy Sounds Like a Good Idea — But Not Everyone Is on Board

In California’s Central Valley, a gas utility is harvesting methane from manure on cow feedlots. Critics worry the push toward biogas will only further entrench two polluting industries. Continue reading

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The Paradox of Internet Famous Wilderness

How destinations like The Wave, located near the Arizona-Utah border, are managing overtourism. Continue reading

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How Volunteers Are Helping Keep Coral Reefs Alive

Planting new corals can’t stop climate change, but it can give marine ecosystems a fighting chance. Volunteers have largely led the ambitious effort. Continue reading

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Why Does It Rain So Much in Spring?

Ah, springtime: The sun is finally out, birds are chirping, buds are blooming — and your plans are likely getting rained on. Here’s why the onset of spring is followed by months of rain. Continue reading

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Don’t Count on Evolution to Save Us from Toxic Chemicals and Pollution

Chemicals and pollutants are just about everywhere in our environment. And the pace of evolutionary change in our bodies appears to be too slow for humans to adapt to them. Continue reading

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What The Shade-Grown Label Means on Your Coffee

It alludes to a specific type of farming that could have significant benefits to the ecosystem that houses our favorite caffeinated beverage. Continue reading

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Where Does the Food in Your Garbage Disposal Go?

Your garbage disposal sends waste to the same place your poop goes, which is to say, a number of different places. Continue reading

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3 Best Reusable Water Bottles To Buy Right Now

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This Egglike Gadget May Hold the Secrets Behind Future Sea-Level Rise

Researchers have developed a novel wireless device called Cryoegg to peek into melting glaciers. Recent tests have revealed that it can transmit data through more than 4,000 feet of ice. Continue reading

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Petroglyphs in the U.S.: What Native Communities Want You to Know About These Rock Carvings

Maybe you’re setting out to see petroglyphs, or maybe you’ve come across them by accident. Either way, keep this information in mind. Continue reading

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Genghis Khan Didn’t Bring Down Central Asia’s Medieval River Civilizations. But Climate Change Did

A new study challenges the long-held view that the destruction of 13th-century societies in the heart of Asia was a direct result of the Mongol invasion. Continue reading

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Old Wives’ Tales to Predict Weather: What’s Based in Science and What’s Just Folklore?

Our ancestors were pretty good at predicting the weather, but they didn’t always know what they were talking about. Continue reading

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Old Wives’ Tales to Predict Weather: What’s Based in Science and What’s Just Folklore?

Our ancestors were pretty good at predicting the weather, but they didn’t always know what they were talking about. Continue reading

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The Ice Caps Are Melting. Will They Ever Disappear Completely?

We’re unlikely to see an iceless planet any time soon. But even modest decreases in ice have big consequences. Continue reading

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Think Cities Have Pothole Problems Now? Just Wait

Cold, heat, stress and moisture are some of asphalt’s worst enemies. Roads are likely to see more damage as climate change brings higher temperatures and more extreme weather swings. Continue reading

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Most People Aren’t Climate Scientists. We Should Talk About Climate Change Anyway

Most Americans don’t talk about climate change. But many experts think that getting communities involved in climate science is the best path forward. Continue reading

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How One Scientist Is Giving Old Phones a Second Life With E-Waste Microfactories

Veena Sahajwalla launched a new way to recycle electronic waste that skips tons of transit and re-forms materials on-site. She’s since added plastics to the mix, and is expanding her microfactories across Australia. Continue reading

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Converting to Geothermal Energy May Help Save the Planet

Whether rain or shine, geothermal power is always available and has the potential to save the climate. So, what is stopping us from utilizing it? Continue reading

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Soon, You Could Be Wearing Mushroom Leather. But Will It Be Better for the Environment?

Brands are starting to embrace fungi-based leather as an alternative to animal skin. Does it live up to the sustainability claims? Continue reading

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Teen Scientist Finds a Low-Tech Way to Recycle Water

Meet Shreya Ramachandran: This high school senior founded a nonprofit based in California that teaches people how to recycle water in their homes. She’s also shown that the water left after cleaning with soap nuts can be reused to irrigate crops. Continue reading

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Massive Craters in Siberia Are Exploding Into Existence. What’s Causing Them?

Climate change is a likely culprit, but scientists are still determining the reason for the frozen tundra’s cavernous phenomena. Continue reading

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Welcome to ‘Hail Alley,’ a U.S. Region Prone to Pelting Ice

A few unfortunate factors make some western states more susceptible to strong, damaging storms. Researchers are collecting data to better predict when hail will fall. Continue reading

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Solar Panel Waste: The Dark Side of Clean Energy

Tons of solar panels installed in the early 2000s are reaching the end of their lifecycles, posing a serious problem for the industry to contend with. Current solar panel disposal practices are far from being environmentally friendly. Continue reading

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Fine Particle Pollution is Down, But Still Killing People

A big-data approach finds the most robust evidence to date that particulate matter kills. Continue reading

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How One Person in Pakistan Made a Difference for Air Quality

Air pollution kills hundreds of thousands of people every year in Pakistan, yet no one was monitoring air quality. Now a group of citizen scientists is prompting change. Continue reading

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How Do Climate Models Predict Global Warming? 

Climate models use complex equations, mountains of data and supercomputers to help us understand global warming and future changes on planet Earth. Continue reading

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Why Scientists Are So Worried About Antarctica’s Doomsday Glacier

Thwaites Glacier in western Antarctica is in serious danger. It’s swiftly melting, and a collapse could cause a dramatic increase in sea level rise. Continue reading

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Whatever Happened to the Hole in the Ozone Layer?

The discovery of the ozone hole shocked the world and propelled nations into action. Decades later, where does the problem stand? Continue reading

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Will Carbon Labels on Our Food Turn us Into Climatarians?

Restaurants, retailers and brands are adding carbon footprint labels to food products. Is this a useful tool in curbing environmental impact, or just a marketing gimmick?    Continue reading

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Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags Might Be Too Good To Be True

Compostable and biodegradable dog poop bags are a load of, well, crap. Experts say there’s a difference between marketing claims and what the bags actually do after they’re thrown away. Continue reading

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